Released: 2016, Rocket 88
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
ICELAND is an acoustic EP released exclusively with Devin Townsend’s autobiography, ONLY HALF THERE. The session—recorded live in an Icelandic studio over two days in June 2015—is stripped down featuring only Devin singing and playing an acoustic guitar. The six songs found here are all previously-released on various albums, though not in acoustic form. For those who have heard 2011’s UNPLUGGED, this is in the same style.
As mentioned, the songs on ICELAND have not been polished or overdubbed. This is a raw performance with studio chatter, guitar scrapes and some spoken word intros/outros. Townsend’s vocals are front and center here, hitting his impressive falsettos on ZILTOID’s “Solar Winds” and operatic vibratos on “Deadhead” that drip with emotion. The Celtic/folk flair of “Let It Roll” comes through even more so here than on the original from 2006’s SYNCHESTRA. “Ih-Ah” and “Sister,” while largely acoustic songs in their original forms, are interpreted here as bare bones without the effects—almost demo-like.
The tracks chosen for ICELAND are not entirely surprising, nor are they massive re-workings of their original counterparts. Devin stretches out his vocal chords and strums on the acoustic guitar for a half hour session—that’s basically it. ICELAND is neither mandatory nor much beyond a curiosity for the most devoted Devin Townsend fan but serves its purpose as a nifty little bonus for those purchasing ONLY HALF THERE.
KILLER KUTS: “Let It Roll,” “Solar Winds,” “Ih-Ah,” “Deadhead”